Submissions from Readers

Balance Issues

Question: I had my stroke in August 2004 and I have regained most of my strength but very little balance control. I walk with a quad cane yet feel like I'm always on a razor edge, just a half a step from a fall.


My stroke was a subdural hematoma of the right cerebellum and caused my right side to be affected. What kind of doctor might help me? I've tried every "gimmick" that I hear of as well as years of P,T., gym exercises, a personal trainer and recently started yoga. I saw a lot of progress for the 1st year or two but very little or none in the last 5 years.

Is there anything that you would suggest that I read? I'm not desperate but I'm running out of options or things to try. I'm only 55 right now and would like to have a little more independence.

Any thoughts are welcome thoughts.

David Crook
david@rcwarplanes.com

Answer: As you probably know, the cerebellum is instrumental in maintaining balance so damage to this area can wreak havoc on one's ability to maintain balance. It is not uncommon to have ataxia with a cerebellar stroke. I found an article that describes ataxia and rehab exercises to address which I think is worth a read and have included the link below my response.
I know you said you have tried all types of therapy and exercise so I may not be able to offer anything new, but I do want to mention ideas in case you haven't tried them. Attempting balance activities with a visual component is important meaning with eyes closed, eyes opened, exercises involving visual tracking and gaze stabilization in various positions. When I say various positions, I mean progressing from sitting, kneeling, on hands and knees, standing, standing on one leg, etc. One balance activity that comes to mind as well is the Infinity Walk. You can google the term and will be able to find information and YouTube videos demonstrating the activity.

You should makes sure you have a trained individual to help you when attempting activities that challenge your balance because you do not want to fall, and I always recommend checking with your MD or therapist before attempting new exercises.

Here is the article that I mentioned previously:

http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/112/

I would encourage you to search information regarding cerebellar ataxia and balance, vestibular rehabilitation, and cerebellar stroke. You may not have ataxia, but I think some of the suggested exercises used with ataxia may be helpful to you. The best advice I can give you is to keep doing what you're doing to maintain and hopefully improve, and do not give up!

Comments for Balance Issues

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Healing
by: Anonymous

Try seeking out a Reiki healer.

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Balance - Ataxia
by: David

Some very good ideas that you present here. I do lot of these exercise but none together.

Some good ideas that excite me (any possibility excites me) and will relieve my otherwise boring routine. Boredom is the #1 reason for not exercising, and I think it's more so for stroke patients since our "time" for seeing improvement is s much slower. It took me quite a while to get that through my thick head, but thanks to my doctor and 2 therapist I have finally come to realize that.

I would highly recommend to my fellow stroke patients that you find a "workout buddy". Any type of exercise or work is easier with a partner!

I have not read the Ataxia Article yet but have it opened and will read it TODAY.

Thanks again for your thoughts and suggestions.

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